It’s that time of the year. The birds are singing, the bees are buzzing, and everyone who plays daily fantasy baseball is panicking because the Rockies are at home and no one knows if they should target them or fade them. Hopefully I can provide some help in terms of daily fantasy baseball picks for today’s DraftKings tournaments.
In my latest book, I proposed an “antifragile” lineup strategy (using a term coined by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb) wherein public opinion counts, just as much (if not more) than value in tournaments, suggesting you should often fade players/teams with anticipated high ownership.
Having said that, the Rockies (and their opponent) were an exception when playing at Coors Field because, well, Coors Field is gooooood. Lots of dongs there, guys. Lots of dongs. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned while playing daily fantasy sports, it’s that DFS players love them some dongs.
Anyway, the data suggested that stacking the Rockies and their opponent at Coors has still been a very fruitful strategy, even though they’re always high-usage, because of the offensive firepower teams have in the ballpark. It’s that awesome.
But, BUT, things change. I don’t know if you’ve looked at the DraftKings salaries today, but they’re…different. Troy Tulowitzki is $7,000. I can’t remember him being over $6,000 last year more than a few times. So there’s that.
For your daily fantasy baseball picks today, if you want to pull off a full Rockies stack today, you might have some trouble. It can be done if you want to punt both pitcher spots, which I’m here to tell you…please don’t do. That’s contrarian, indeed, but probably not +EV.
Having said that, some of the effects of the increased salaries in this game are offset by the fact that the pitchers in the early games aren’t exactly aces. Bud Norris, facing the Blue Jays, is the most expensive arm at $7,400.
Nonetheless, it appears as though DraftKings is going to be compensating (overcompensating?) for the Coors effect this year. And as much as I’m a proponent of studying historic trends, we also need to know when they’re no longer relevant. And with these prices, now might be that time, ya dig?
Due to the unique nature of that pricing, I’m going to focus today’s article on the early slate of games…
Toronto at Baltimore (80% chance of storms)
Houston at Texas (0% chance of rain)
Chicago Cubs at Colorado (0% chance of rain)
Detroit at Cleveland (0% chance of rain)
Minnesota at Chicago White Sox (20% chance of rain)
As it stands right now, our big questions are “How do we treat the Colorado game?” and “Do we take a chance on Toronto or Baltimore?”
Chicago Cubs + Colorado Rockies
I’m having a difficult time figuring out if people are still going to jump on the Rockies. The cost is prohibitive, but they’re still by far the top team in Vegas at 5.1+ projected runs.
However, the Cubs aren’t far behind and cost a whole lot less. You can actually work a pretty legitimate Cubs stack into your lineup and not punt both pitcher spots. I’m sort of afraid that everyone else is going to be thinking the same way as me, though.
Thus, one viable strategy might be to actually stack both teams with a few studs and somewhat cheaper players. Maybe fade Rizzo and Cargo and just hope they have down games. I wouldn’t normally suggest such a strategy, but I think it has some value in a five-game slate because we’re really concerned about ownership.
Either way, the idea is try to stack the game with low-to-medium usage players, if you can find them, and then just hope the LeMahieu-type players (although probably overpriced) are the ones who deliver.
Chicago White Sox
The other potential strategy is to just fade the Rockies game, which is one hell of a risk, and jump on another team. Like I said, you could take a chance with your daily fantasy baseball picks and target the Orioles-Jays game because a lot of people will probably be off of it with the rain. Another option is the White Sox, who are the third-best projected team behind Colorado and the Cubbies (for the entire day, not just the early slate).
From a handedness perspective, the Sox match up well with Tommy Milone; Melky, Abreu, Garcia, and Ramirez could make for a nice right-handed mini-stack.
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado (vs Travis Wood) – $7,000
Tulo costs as much or more than all but one pitcher. I actually think the price is so high that his ownership can’t possibly be as high as normal. Am I being naïve? Maybe, but the cost is pretty nuts.
However, Tulo absolutely crushes left-handed pitching. Like, crushes it; he has a wOBA that’s 0.196 higher versus southpaws than righties.
OF Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox (vs Tommy Milone) – $4,300
Garcia is an attractively priced outfielder with extreme splits versus lefties. Like Tulo, his wOBA is over 100 points higher against lefties than righties. When I stack the Sox, Garcia will be in every one of those lineups.
1B Justin Morneau, Colorado (vs Travis Wood) – $4,600
Morneau is hitting .077 this year which, if you haven’t heard, isn’t very good. He’s also in a poor matchup against the left-handed Wood.
But that price. Morneau is the 11th-most expensive first baseman in a five-game slate playing on a team projected at over five runs. I’ll favor the upside of the offense and the price over the matchup in this extreme case.
P Collin McHugh, Houston (vs Texas)
Secret: I have no idea which pitchers to select today. Bud Norris is in play, but the thunderstorms there are going to cause some trouble.
When in doubt, go with Ks. McHugh is in a decent spot against the Rangers and has lots of strikeout upside.